I have exciting news! I will begin my second Chicago residency in less than a month and things will be hectic from day one. A large portion of the low-residency MFA students at SAIC have put together a collaborative pop up show, which will take place on Saturday June 13th in downtown Chicago. I am so excited to be a part of it!
Last night I attended the opening reception for Precision and Reach, an art show curated by artist Jane Lillian Vance. The show is displayed in the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine in Roanoke, Virginia as part of their Creativity in Health Education Program. I have two mixed media pieces in the show, which will be up through June.
Last night, I attended the Medical Avatar opening reception with some of my family. There was a great turnout and I was able to meet and talk to Virgil Wong, the man behind the show and the company Medical Avatar. His own artwork was included in the show and he gave a great lecture discussing his process as well as his background and an overview of his work with medical avatars. It was fascinating to hear about this technology that we will probably become very familiar with in the near future.
I’ve been putting up images of these pieces for the past several weeks, but I never really explained the meaning behind them. The first piece in the series, In the Works, depicts the present me. There is a lot of potential in this piece. The pencil grid in the background indicates an ongoing process and a plan. My facial features were drawn or painted and covered up multiple times to represent how I’m still at a point where I can reverse damage that is caused by diabetes and lack of control.
The next piece, In Repair, is me five years from now if I continue living with poor control of my diabetes. In this case, poor control can mean several things including poor diet, lack of exercise, neglect to administer insulin and check my bloodsugar levels, etc. This portrait illustrates a combination of symptoms from a variety of complications such as kidney damage and eye disease. Fatigue, weight-loss, burst blood vessels, and nausea are some of the symptoms I chose to depict. The circular shapes in the background are made from a sugar and paint mixture and symbolize a chaotic lifestyle. The peeling away of the paper indicates my approaching death.
The last piece in the series, In Control, is me five years from now if I am proactive about my diabetes control. I wanted to make sure to show that even with good control, actually even with near perfect control, I can still suffer from complications. This is why I didn’t want to make the grid in the background too perfect and why I added tiny X’s around my body. The blue ring over my chest is the symbol for diabetes.
I’m really glad I was able to find time to create work for this show. It was a great experience! The show will be up through March 2015, so make sure to check it out if you are in the Roanoke area. Thanks for reading :]
Today marks the beginning of National Diabetes Awareness Month, but more specifically, today is Type 1 Day. Back in 2011, JDRF designated the first day of National Diabetes Awareness Month as Type 1 Day in honor of the millions of people living with Type 1 Diabetes. I’ve had Type 1 for almost 21 years now, and as I’ve said before, it doesn’t get easier with time.
World Diabetes Day is coming up on November 14th and I would be so grateful if you showed your support. You can do this simply by wearing the color blue and sharing with people (through social media or word of mouth or whatever!) why you are wearing blue that day.
I just mailed an artwork donation to an organization called Boxes of Joy for Diabetics, which was created by a recently diagnosed young girl in Wisconsin. She discovered that art helped her cope with this difficult change and she decided to share that joy with other recently diagnosed children by sending them handmade cards. They are hosting an art exhibition on World Diabetes Day to raise awareness and celebrate and raise some money for Boxes of Joy. Check them out on Facebook by clicking HERE.
As an art student whose body of work is primarily about diabetes, I’ve been thinking about the d-word even more than usual. Through my own exploration as well as through conversations with my mentor and peers, I’ve learned to think about my disease in different ways. I have so many ideas for this work and I want to try to develop as many of those ideas as possible at this point. I’m looking forward to sharing new work on here as always, and I can’t wait to see what direction these explorations take me.
Please take a moment to play a part in raising awareness about diabetes and the importance of knowing the symptoms of diabetes. Your support is very much appreciated. Thank you!
From left to right: In the Works, In Repair, In Control
18″ x 24″
October 26-27, 2014
I finally finished my submissions for the Medical Avatar exhibition that’s coming up. Despite my busy schedule, I decided to enter this show because the theme is relevant to the work that I’m currently doing. I had even planned on doing more self-portraits this semester.
The prompt was this: Entries should include three self-portraits: you as you are today; you as you will be in 5 years if you continue with an unhealthy habit you have today; and you as you will be in 5 years if you continue with a healthy habit you have today.
This process was pretty frustrating and I wasn’t surprised that it turned out that way. Self-portraits are hard for me to get through. It was an interesting experience, making three self-portraits in different styles and with different messages. I’ll post more background information later on.
Thanks for visiting :]
Hey guys! I have two exciting things to talk about. I mentioned both of these things in my last post, and as promised, I’m here to give you more info.
First of all, I finally opened my Etsy shop! I spent many, many hours working on things to make it as “official” as possible. I listed several items that I’ve had done for months now, but I also created a collection of pieces just for the opening (The Dragonfruit Collection if you want to check it out). I also came up with a logo design and hand-printed it onto tags for the clothing. My sisters and I even modeled the clothes, which was really fun :] Right now I just have clothing (and one tote bag) for sale, but I’ll be putting up small drawings and paintings in the near future.
You can check out all the excitement HERE
My second announcement is that I’m having an art show in August in downtown Harrisonburg, Virginia. My work will be displayed in Larkin Arts for the whole month of August. Larkin Arts is a really cute school/store/gallery/studio that just opened last year. I’m so excited to show my work there. The opening reception will take place on Friday August 2nd from 5-8pm and the work will be on display until Tuesday September 3rd. The gallery hours are 11am-7pm Mon-Sat (they’re closed on Sundays).
The work that I’ll be showing is once again a collection of dress pieces that reflect my life with Type 1 Diabetes. Some of the pieces were included in my last show, but I’ve also been working on new things since then. If you’re in the area, I hope you can make it! I’ll be there for the duration of the opening reception.
Bonus announcement: I’m going to be in another magazine! More info on that later :] Have a great day!
It feels like I just graduated from high school yesterday, but here I am, a college grad. I have mixed emotions about the whole thing really, and I don’t think it will truly hit me that I’m not going back until August when I’m not packing up the car with all my things to move back to campus. It’s bittersweet for sure. A big part of me feels very ready for this next step (whether I can clearly tell you what that next step is exactly…well that’s another story). I graduated cum laude and I’m super proud of my accomplishments. I’m excited to see what opportunities may present themselves to me. I’m excited for something different and new.
Don’t get me wrong, though, I am pretty nervous about the future. I’m still in the job-searching period of my post-grad life and waiting anxiously for an offer. Right now, I am looking for a position as an art teacher hopefully not too far away so that I can live at home for a little while.
I do miss JMU and the people I became friends with there. I miss the beautiful campus and the feeling of independence I had. It’s kind of sad knowing I’ll never go back there as a student. I’m also not looking forward to paying off my loans… There are definitely some perks to being done, though. I get to be around for more family stuff and spend more time with my boyfriend and friends who live here. I also don’t have to move all my stuff again (for a while at least). I can hopefully manage my diabetes better now that I’m a little more in control of my schedule and what I eat, etc.
I have lots of plans for the summer to keep me busy while I nervously await a job offer! I have another art show in August in Downtown Harrisonburg, so I’ll be working on stuff for that. I’ll put up more information on that show very soon. I’m also in the process of opening an Etsy store! I’ll mostly be using it to sell my hand-painted clothing, but I’ll probably put some small drawings and paintings there too. I will also post something about that once the store is up and running.
I’ve been contacting local artists, galleries, and boutiques in search of more opportunities to get my work out to the public. I’m kind of unsure as to how I should approach this kind of thing, so I’m seeking advice from those who know more than I do :P
I’m not too sure where I’ll be in a few months, which is kind of intimidating, but I’ll be sure to share my journey with you guys on here :] Stay tuned!
Back in September, I had my first art show. It was up for 2 weeks in the ArtWorks Gallery at JMU. I spent much of the last 2 years preparing for it and was very satisfied with the end result. I was also very nervous for everyone to see it as it was such a personal topic. The response was very good though! Several people came to the opening on September 13th and I received feedback from professors, classmates, coworkers, and family.
This show was definitely a learning experience. There were a quite few bumps along the way… In this gallery, shows are put up the day before the opening, so I spent much of my Sunday doing that. I had help from mostly my boyfriend, but also the directors and some interns, which I was very grateful for. There was a lot of measuring and nailing for my 27 pieces. It took close to 5 hours to get everything done. Another setback was that when I was putting up all of my framed images, I didn’t take them down when my boyfriend started hammering the nail in for the next piece and eventually one frame fell off the wall and cracked of course. Luckily, I was able to find the same frame at Michael’s and replace it in time. Oh, and I also forgot to bring one of my pieces all together so I had to go back and get that from my room.
Even though I’m the most satisfied with my paintings, the wall of framed pieces was probably my favorite part of the show. It wasn’t just me trying to say something, it was a lot of people saying things. Earlier in 2012 I asked people affected by diabetes to answer three questions:
The responses were heartbreaking and inspiring. Click to read them (sorry for the glare…)
I am so grateful that these people were willing to share such intimate feelings with strangers. It was very important to me to show others that even though diabetics may “look” healthy and happy, we are constantly dealing with some kind of internal struggle, trying to compensate for the complete lack of an essential organ. I am so thankful for everyone who helped make my show so much better with their responses. Here are the rest of the pieces from my show with a short description of each:
This piece, titled Ketoacidosis, is the first in a set of four paintings that tell a certain story. When I was in the 9th grade, I went to the hospital for the first time since my diagnosis when I was three years old. I had ketoacidosis. I actually never knew what that was until I started doing research for these paintings. Ketoacidosis occurs when there is a lack of insulin in the body. Without insulin, the body can’t process glucose from food. The liver produces more glucose to feed the body, but since it can’t be processed, the glucose just accumulates in the bloodstream. The body needs energy and can’t get it so it breaks down fat instead. Fat metabolism leads to the buildup of ketones in the bloodstream. Ketones are toxic acids. This accumulation can be fatal. The ketones and glucose are then transferred into the urine. The kidneys use water to get rid of the excess ketones and glucose. This is the part of the process that is illustrated in black and white on the painting. The loss of water leads to dehydration, which worsens the condition and starts the cycle over again. I was in the hospital overnight because I couldn’t keep anything down, not even water. The bracelet in the painting is the actual bracelet that I wore when I was in the hospital.
This piece is titled Normal Life and it represents my life between the time I went to the hospital and when I finally realized what was happening to me 6 years later. The title is also indicative of the fact that diabetes is an invisible disease and most people would never know that I had it unless I told them.
This is the piece I was most protective of and worried about showing to people. It is called Attack and it represents my reaction to the research I did on Ketoacidosis. As I said earlier, I didn’t really know what happened to me when I went to the hospital and I never tried to find out until I decided to make paintings about the experience. I had no idea how serious it was and when I found out it could be fatal and thought about how many times I’ve had high blood sugar and ketones, I felt so defeated and hopeless. I had panic attacks a few nights in a row where I was crying so much I could hardly breathe and I felt like my heart was going to explode out of my chest. It was one of my lower moments in the art-making process, but doing the actual painting part was very therapeutic and helped me release the anxiety I was feeling about the whole thing.
This is the last painting in the set. It is titled Thank You and it is a message to my loved ones who have been with me through my ups and downs with diabetes. They are a huge part of the reason why I am where I am today.
This next painting is one of my favorites. It’s called Insulin is Not a Cure and it’s somewhat of an abstraction of an insulin injection cross section. The layers represent the muscle, fat, and skin. Injections are a huge part of a Type 1 diabetic’s life. Without insulin injections, I wouldn’t be here. It’s honestly that simple. Insulin is what keeps me alive, and yet it’s such an invasive thing. The needle is a foreign object in my body and it has no remorse for hurting me multiple times a day. I painted the insulin coming out of the needle to resemble a jewel because to me and other diabetics it’s a precious substance.
This last painting is titled I Can See It Happening. It illustrates multiple things, especially my fear of becoming blind and my overall frustration with diabetes. I’m a very emotional person, so this painting is quite representative of me. As an artist, my fear of losing my sight is very strong.
These next few pictures are drawings that went on the wall along with the questions and answers.
This drawing is titled All Day Every Day and it represents the repetitiveness of a life with diabetes.
These are two drawings of beta cells, which are responsible for storing and releasing insulin. I think the shape of the beta cell is so beautiful, so the drawings are thoughtfully titled Beautiful Beta 1 and Beautiful Beta 2.
These two small pieces are about ketones and test strips.
This piece is titled P(r)ick Me. I’ve had marks on my fingers for as long as I can remember.
These are two graphs that my dad made when I was diagnosed. I was still in my honeymoon period, which means that my pancreas was still producing some insulin. I got the flu almost as soon as I was diagnosed with diabetes, and my parents were carefully monitoring my blood sugar levels. My dad has always been a very logical person, and I love that I still have these graphs after all this time.
This is a picture of yours truly when I was about six years old. I don’t remember this photo being taken, but the photographer, my sister Sysy, reminds me that she took the photo when I took a break from rollerblading to check my blood sugar. The nice thing is that I don’t have many bad memories of having diabetes as a child. I think this photo very much captures that.
I am so thankful for this opportunity. It was scary for me to share this part of myself, but it changed my life in a good way. I feel like my life has more purpose now. I want to continue to explore diabetes as the subject of my art and I want to share it with as many people as I can. Be on the look out for more artwork inspired by diabetes because this is just the beginning! A HUGE thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way.
The opening for my show has been moved from Monday September 3rd to Monday September 10th. The show will still be up starting on the 3rd, but the purpose of the “opening” is that it’s the only guaranteed time that all of the artists will be there. There will also be food :] The opening will take place from 5-7pm in the ArtWorks Gallery at JMU.
Side note: Coming Soon! Diabetes Art Day! I’m currently working on a piece to submit, and it will be posted on September 1st along with a link to the official website :]
Correction: Diabetes Art Day is September 24th this year! My mistake :P
My art show that I talked about a few times is taking place REALLY soon! The opening is on Monday September 3rd from 5-7pm. I just found out about this two days ago so I’ve been rushing to get everything done since I leave for school this Friday. The show will be up until Saturday September 15th and the gallery hours are: Monday-Friday 12-5pm, Saturday 12-4pm. The show will be at artWorks Gallery, a student run art gallery at JMU in Harrisonburg. My artwork focuses on my life with Type 1 Diabetes and features comments from several people who are also affected by the disease in some way.
Here’s to a great show!